Life is creeping back toward normal, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Four months post peroneal tendon surgery I’m sleeping without mummifying my leg. I am just starting to get back into squatting again. I got the go-ahead to finally leave the brace behind for daily life. I’m physically moving on.
In the day to day it’s hard to see the progress I’ve made. And it’s even more difficult when my pain and mobility fluctuate wildly. Some days are great, others feel like I’ve lost weeks of progress overnight.
But I’m slowly slipping toward normal and my obsession about my progress is going with it.
My expectations about my recovery were woefully incorrect. I was under the impression that I would be back to where I was before surgery after three months. At four, I’m still not there. But I’m also not worrying about it anymore.
My outlook on my recovery post peroneal tendon surgery is heavily skewed by the nine months I spent desperate to get better before anyone realized I needed more than physical therapy could offer. I feel like this has been dragging on forever, that I will never actually get better. But when I can set all of that aside, it’s clearly not true. I’m making strides, I’m inching forward and the steps backward are much less frequent.
Healing is slow. Connective tissue like tendons is particularly sluggish. I’m doing what I can, and I’m not worrying about the rest.
I’ve stopped comparing myself to Lauren Fisher, the CrossFit athlete who had her surgery within days of mine and has shot past me. We aren’t the same person, we have different goals, and frankly, it just doesn’t matter.
2017 is my year.
I’m so excited to start the new year feeling a bit more like my old self. I can throw on my sneakers and head out the door (for a walk, but still). I am working on my leg strength and aggressively building my balance. When it stops raining I can ride my bike outside instead of being cooped up in the gym. My physical therapist has given me a great deal of space to try things out on my own and decide what feels right for my body right now.
I don’t want to be too bold, but I have a feeling I’ll be running in the next month. I’ve already done some really short jogs on the Alter-G treadmill at 80 percent of my bodyweight. If things keep moving like they have been I think I’ll see pavement soon.
Yoga has brought back my sanity (and some of my flexibility). I’ve left each class with a huge sense of relief and space in my body.
My body is forever changed, and it still hasn’t quite figured out what that’s going to be like, but I’m starting to get a hang of the way things are now.
It’s been a year since I first hurt my ankle. I’m torn between the part of me that wants to wallow in fate or misfortune and the other that’s ready to celebrate.
This has been a year of challenge. A year of learning. A year of pushing my limits and redefining the way I see myself.
Of course I miss running like crazy and I want to be the badass I once was, but I am way more resilient and grateful than that woman was. She didn’t know how hard it was to feed yourself on crutches. She never woke up crying in the middle of the night because her ankle was on fire. She didn’t know what it was like to persevere through a full year of pain and frustration and set backs.
What I learned from my year-long injury
1. You can sob all you want, but you can’t change reality.
I fell apart as my friend helped me off the court. I couldn’t accept that I was poised to set a PR and instead I was going to be rehabbing a severely injured ankle. Crying and disbelief won’t change anything.
A photo posted by Mandy Ferreira (@treading_lightly) on
2. Ice cream won’t kill you.
I’ve done my best over the past year to severely limit my sugar intake. It’s a known inflammatory food and I need all the help I can get healing. While I stand by my decision, I also don’t regret the times I had ice cream or another sweet treat.
3. You aren’t what you do.
Runner. Yogi. Lifter. Athlete. These are all just parts of me. They don’t define me. And even when I’m not able to do them, that doesn’t mean they aren’t still a part of my identity and a part of what makes me me.
4. Do what you love.
I love to run and push myself and move my body, but even before I discovered my love for sports I fell for books. This year has given me the opportunity to spend more time than ever before reading. Reading has fulfilled me in ways that running or lifting arguably could not.
5. But how is it today?
It’s so easy to get caught up in how I think things should go or should be. But life doesn’t work like that. I had to learn to take my recovery a day at a time and realize that each day was going to be wildly different. Turns out it fits for even more than just an injury. Things look and feel different every day. Some days cooking feels like the worst way to spend my time and others it leaves me feeling warm and content. How is it today?
6. Slow down.
There’s nothing like crutches or a bulky boot to slow you down. But more than physically, I had to try to slow down mentally. As much as I tried, you just can’t look ahead two months and try to project where you will be. Recovery is slow and your body does its own thing. This year forced me to drop my obsessive planning and projecting, or at least try to.
A video posted by Mandy Ferreira (@treading_lightly) on
7. Keep moving.
An injury (most of the time) isn’t a sentence to the couch. I did my best to move both before and after surgery. I don’t always feel like exercising these days and it’s really difficult for me to make it to the gym since I still can’t drive, but I’m trying my best. A very nice woman around my age who was doing a seriously badass workout came up to me and told me that seeing me workout in a boot was really inspiring to her. She made me realize that it should be inspiring to me too. It forced me to look at what I was doing and the effort I’ve been putting in and appreciate my effort more.
8. Put your feet up.
Don’t forget to relax. Healing takes time and a ton of your body’s energy. Respect that! A week after my surgery I thought I could go to the farmer’s market. I was so wrong. I ended up sitting on a cold concrete bench willing myself to apparate home. Even almost two months later, I still feel like I have to sleep all day after a workout. Indulge in healing. Treat yourself to some elevation and a nice soothing soak.
9. Listen to yourself.
That pain is your body trying to tell you something. The voice in your head that says “this is a bad idea” is probably right (unless it’s just fear talking, then tell it to STFU). I’ve gotten a lot better this year at checking in with how I feel and adjusting accordingly. In the past I’ve been the queen of pushing through pain, which usually ends in a lingering injury. Since I already have one of those, I’m trying to be extra in-tune with what my body needs and what I really want. It’s changed the way I work, spend my time, and exercise.
10. Pain is temporary*.
It’s so hard to remember that it won’t last forever when you’re in the thick of it. The pain spreads like wildfire, lashing at everything in its path. But it will burn out. In a few days or a few weeks, you won’t remember just how bad it was. It will slowly drain away until there’s nothing left.
*I am blessed that this is actually true for me. I don’t know how people handle debilitating pain on a daily basis. Those people deserve our admiration, love, and help.
This year I learned to trust. To let myself be taken care of. I’ve never had surgery, and while I was ready for this to be all over, I wasn’t thrilled with the idea. I put complete trust in my surgeon and the entire team. I felt safe going under, and while I recovered I forced myself to let go and lean on my friends and family. I also have to trust that I’m going to recover and be back to 100 percent in the future.
Where I am now
Lately I’ve been having weird flashbacks to the first month of my injury. Post surgery it seemed like I was in worse shape than when I first hurt it, but now that I’m really making progress it reminds me of last October. Only this time I actually know what’s going on and what my body responds to best.
After weeks of crutches and cast/boot life, I’m so happy with my progress.
FINALLY! I was originally told I would be on crutches for three weeks post-surgery. What they really meant was I could not put any weight on my foot for three weeks. After that I would slowly! transition to weight-bearing until I could walk without my crutches. It took me two weeks or so to get down to one crutch and be able to walk the seven steps from the sink to the dining room table without feeling like I was ripping my ankle in half.
Last night I walked two (short) blocks in just the boot and felt pretty good! The way back to the car was less fun and rest of the night was a bit uncomfortable and swollen, but it felt so good to move around in the world without the crutches.
Bye Bye Boot-y (er… sort of)
A couple weeks ago I got the okay from my doctor to start putting weight on my foot without the boot. I started with putting a teeny tiny bit of weight on my foot while brushing my teeth or showering. Progress has been slow, but earlier this week I made it up and down the stairs in Tiny House in just my socks. I’m still stupid proud of myself.
Physical Therapy (Round 2)
I’m back to doing nightly Thera-Band exercises in addition to everything else I’ve been doing. It’s only been a week, and my progress is astounding. Physical therapy gives me the warm and fuzzies. And hope for the future. And really weird marks.
For the first time in years I’m having trouble motivating myself to exercise. I’m not training for anything – all of my energy is focused on recovering and healing. While exercise is definitely an important part of that, my limited abilities are a total downer.
If you don’t mind me borrowing from Beyonce, “I’m not feeling like myself since the baby” ankle injury. My drive is muddled in feeling frustrated and trying to moving forward. My focus is on improving my ankle motion, depriving myself of sugar in the name of healing (AKA eating the best nutrients I can every day), managing inflammation, improving circulation, and trying to figure out how much pain is alright.
I don’t have a ton of mental energy to get creative with my workout. Especially since I can’t actually drive myself to the gym and crutching there may kill me. I have no experience working out at home, and so far I have to be honest, I hate it. Going to the gym is a reset. Even if I don’t feel like exercising, once I’m in the gym that feeling disappears 95 percent of the time.
How to Exercise With an Ankle or Foot Injury
Despite my whining, it’s fully possible to get a great workout without weight-bearing on an injured foot/ankle. Bonus, you’ll heal faster if you do.
1. Change Your Priorities
The last time I was off my ankle, my arms and core were solid. I returned to CrossFit being able to do things that were impossible for me before. Sure, you’ll have to build up your leg strength and balance again, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fine-tune something else. All is not lost.
Target your weaknesses and focus on setting yourself up for a quick, safe return. I’m focusing on hip strength and stability (yes, even without weight-bearing), core strength, and getting rid of imbalances between my arms.
2. Embrace a New Focus
I fight change like a boxer. I refuse to let it go, even when it’s clearly going to win anyways. Before I hurt my ankle I was working on running further faster and improving my leg strength. Weeks before surgery, I hit my previous squat PR.
After surgery I’ve had to let go of all of that. You can’t mourn the strength you are losing or the effort that was “wasted.”
Put all of that energy into something new. I’m all in on my recovery.
3. Track Your Progress
I write down what I’ve done each day to recover and heal, including how I felt and the quality of my sleep. Your workout journal is a great place for this. My phone is full of (nasty) pictures of my incisions so I can scroll through and remind myself how much as changed and how far I’ve come. (Pro tip: These are also great for freaking out your family and friends. You’re welcome.)
Same goes for my workouts. I write down what I did that day, if anything caused pain, and if anything was too easy/hard.
4. Drop the Comparison
You wouldn’t say any of the shit running through your head to someone else with a similar injury. Stop comparing yourself to what you used to be able to do. Yes, it’s disorienting and frustrating. Quit being an ass to yourself (talking to myself here).
An injury is a clean start. Stop looking back at what you used to do and explore what you can do now. I’ve stopped flipping through my workout log to decide on weights. Instead of failing at them and feeling less than, I’m listening to my body and getting a solid workout.
This is the most important. Go into your workout, whether at home or in the gym, with a general idea of what you are going to do. Leave room for making adjustments based on how you feel (and the availability of equipment). This will stop you from wasting time once you get going and will make exercising so much easier.
Exercises to Do When You Have an Ankle or Foot Injury
This is not an exhaustive list, but it’s what I’ve been working with so far. This list is for people who cannot weight-bear at all. These exercises are perfect if you are in a boot/cast or are on crutches.
Russian Twists: use a plate, medicine ball, or dumbbell to make these more difficult
Bird Dogs: put a balance pad beneath your knees for added difficulty
Seated bicep curls or really any seated arm exercise
Ride a stationary bike. No, you probably can’t go to SoulCycle, although by all means ask your doctor. My doctor got me on the bike in my cast for five minutes at no resistance. I’ve slowly built up to 10-15 minutes in my boot, still with no resistance. 100 percent ask before trying this if you are not supposed to be weight-bearing.
Swim. Be sure to have proper support for your injury (tape or brace), no kicking, and don’t push off of the wall with your injured foot/ankle.
Arm cycle. No one wants to do it, but it will definitely get your heart rate up.
Row. Put your injured leg on a skate board and go for it. Personally I feel off-balance when I try this, but see how it feels to you.
What have you tried? Are there any other good non-weight bearing exercises?
While it’s been 11 months since I first injured my ankle, I’m only three weeks into my peroneal tendon surgery recovery.
After a solid two weeks of rest, I finally felt ready to do my first workout. It felt so so good to move around and get a little sweaty, although I was less excited to be sweating in my cast. I’m still trying to figure out creative things that I can do while sitting or lying down. I’m planning on including a list one of these days so you don’t have to scour the entire internet like I did. For some really hardcore ideas, you can check out Lauren Fisher’s Instagram.
I got the cast hacked off me and breathed a huge sigh of relief when I finally got to wash my leg and trim my toe nails. (Casts are a worst nightmare for a germaphobe like me.) But I haven’t exercised since I got the cast off on Monday. It took me a solid 24 hours to adjust to life in my boot. The first night was terrible, but we’re starting to understand each other better.
I may attempt to flop around on the floor a bit today in the name of stretching and exercise, but since I started partial weight-bearing today and my ankle wasn’t a huge fan, I’m waiting to see how things progress into the afternoon.
Peroneal Tendon Surgery Recovery Lifesavers
1. Friends and family.
I have been blessed to have so much help. You don’t really realize how limiting crutches are until you are trying to get yourself grapes out of the fridge and you have to sit on the floor and eat them right there because you can’t crutch and carry them.
My lovely boyfriend has taken the brunt of it. He makes me a solid three meals a day, does the dishes, retrieves snacks, and doesn’t say anything when I ask for the chocolate… again.
2. Extra pillows.
Fun fact, my whole foot turns purple when I don’t elevate. While it is an interesting hue, I find it best not to experience it.
3. Knee-height stool
I scoot myself around the kitchen with a stool. It means I can ditch the crutches, actually have clean hands, and carry things. Amazing!
4. A great book… or four
Reading has kept me sane. It’s one of my few hobbies that I can still do while recovering.
5. Tasty Tea
And the disgusting turmeric tea I drink to appease the gods of inflammation. But man do I look forward to my warm cup of green tea in the morning. Bonus points if you drink tea every time you ice too (unless it’s a thousand degrees outside like yesterday, and then by all means put some of that ice in your cup).
7. What laundry?
Not really a lifesaver, but this bonus should not go unnoticed. It turns out not going to the gym and spending most days at home means you produce 1/4 of the laundry you once did. Score! Especially since the aforementioned lovely man has to do it all by himself.
While I was rarely left to fend for myself the first week and a half, the time came for me to be more self-sufficient. My biggest barrier (other than pain anytime my foot was below my hip for more than two minutes) was my inability to carry things.
A photo posted by Mandy Ferreira (@treading_lightly) on
I fixed that problem. A little creative problem solving goes a long when fending for yourself in less than optimal conditions.
I’m in the boot for six weeks, but my doctor has encouraged me to start testing my range of motion. Full discloser, that has been awful! My total range of motion is less than three degrees at most and it lets me know what it thinks of this plan loudly. Needless to say, I’m not rushing into that.
Ideally in the next week I will ween myself off the crutches (and become a more fully functional human being in the process). While my hands are ready to burn the crutches for what they’ve done to them, my ankle has made it clear that a very slow transition will be necessary.
I start PT (yay, again!) in three weeks. I have legitimate fear about it right now. But three weeks is a lot of time to heal (and toughen up).
For a girl who loves the ocean, I sure do feel at home in the mountains too.
My family and I spent seven glorious days in Wyoming just a mile outside of Teton National Park. After having a blast in Whistler last summer, we couldn’t resist Teton Village’s hiking, biking, and more. This trip was my last hurrah before surgery. My doctor gave me the green light to hike and bike to the best of my ability before I left, and I definitely pushed those limits.
Hiking in Teton Village
I went all out on vacation. Some people drink or eat like it’s their last chance while on vacation – I hiked my heart out until my ankle couldn’t take it anymore. That said, it held up so much better than expected. All taped up I was able to hike four miles with 2,677 feet of elevation gain. Not too bad for an old, hobbled lady.
A photo posted by Mandy Ferreira (@treading_lightly) on
On our first hike we made our way up to the gondola stop and took it all the way down. Man were we happy to sit down, but the fast ride was a bit depressing given how long it took us to get up there.
We had originally intended to hike to the summit, but lunch and hunger got in the way. Instead, we took the tram up to the very top a few days later and hiked back down to where we stopped earlier in the week. The hike down was beautiful, but a bit much for my mom who hates heights and the feeling of walking along a drop off/mountain side. We did all get some good laughs at her attempt to use her hands as blinders to avoid looking down. (Don’t worry, karma paid me back with some wicked ankle pain. Downhill on loose rocks is bad news for me.)
Also, shout out to the bear between towers three and four who had been making appearances (and apparently sniffing the faces of friendly staff members). Super thankful you decided not to come play with us.
Downhill Mountain Biking
My mom desperately wanted to downhill mountain bike. No joke. She was so stoked to try this out, and her excitement was contagious.
I think this was the highlight of the trip. We all suited up and hit the trails. I felt like a princess being toted up in the ski lift so I could ride back down. It felt like cheating to downhill mountain bike without riding the way up too, but oh man was it fantastic. We got in around 12 runs.
I’m proud to announce that no one got hurt. Less proud to say that everyone knew when my mom and I were on the trails. We might have squealed around some of the turns, but we got braver and braver and by the end we were tearing up intermediate trails. (We also laughed so hard once that we had to stop riding until our tears cleared up. I might have started it by narrowly avoiding a wipeout…)
The two in the helmets are my parents. They claim to not be ashamed to be seen with us, but this picture suggests otherwise…
We returned dirty, exhausted, and giddy. Wicked fun.
Teton National Park
My heart broke a bit standing in front of these majestic mountains, broken. I wanted to hike around and explore them, but instead I was confined to the car and the mile or so I could walk from there. I’d love to come back one day and really backpack around these beauties.
I’ve been joking for years about taking Little Teton (above) home. I’ve had the little guy since outdoor ed in 6th grade. From Warped Tour to hiking to kayaking, we’ve been places together. I hope he enjoyed his trip to his namesake.
While we spent most of our time in Teton Village, we also got the chance to see Teton National Park and Yellowstone. I’m so glad we were able to see both parks, especially since this year was the National Parks’ centennial and Yellowstone was the first national park. (Stay tuned for more on our day trip to Yellowstone.)
After nine months, I was fully expecting surgery. I went into the MRI hoping that whatever was wrong would be glaringly obvious so we could fix it quickly and I could move on with my life.
For better or for worse, my MRI wasn’t as clear as the doctor had hoped. My trouble spots all showed up with excess fluid and inflammation, but without full tears it’s hard to see what’s really going on.
In order to get a better idea of what’s broken, my doctor started testing my ankle. He went after my biggest source of pain first, my peroneal tendon. He injected anesthesia into my tendon sheath, and the pain immediately went away. I can’t describe the relief.
I was then instructed to do activities that normally increase my pain to see if I could bring the pain back. If I could, the problem wasn’t a tendon tear. If the pain stayed away, s-s-surgery.
I ran a glorious half mile on a treadmill. The stale gym air in my hair, feet moving under me – I hadn’t felt so free since I tried to snap my ankle in two playing basketball. I had forgotten what it felt like to run, to relax into my stride and just let my feet move. I wasn’t worried about the outcome or trying to negotiate with the broken parts of me. We just moved.
Before the treadmill of joy, I hadn’t run more than 200 steps at a time. I knew I had done more than enough to make my ankle hurt, but damn was I feeling invincible. I went into the hallway and busted out single leg heal raises like I do them all day.
After resting for an hour I was convinced. This was it.
A video posted by Mandy Ferreira (@treading_lightly) on
Peroneal Tendon Surgery
The good news: Unless I twist it again, I can’t make this much worse. I got the sign off to (carefully!) hike and ride a bike (short distances) on my vacation at the end of the month.
Also good news? The week we get back, I’m having surgery. A terrifying prospect when I think too hard about the details.
The unfortunate news: After surgery, I’m on a recovery plan that will take me into 2017 before I’m back to full activity like I was before my injury. The timeline depends heavily on what my damage is. Just a small tendon tear: 3 months. Tendon tear and a bone chip: 3+ months. Tendon tear and cartilage damage: 4-5 months.
If things go well, I’ll be walking in a boot to celebrate the one year mark of my injury at the end of October.
The best news: I have a way forward. I finally have a plan to get back to running and olympic lifting. The path isn’t the one I would have chosen at the beginning, but I feel good about it. I’m so ready to be better. To be back. To be free. To not have constant pain.
When my peroneal tendon was numb, I felt like myself again. After nine months of pain I was so used to it that it was shocking to feel normal. It also made me realize just how much pain I was living with every day. When the anesthesia began to wear off and the pain came creeping back in, it was staggering. I couldn’t believe I was walking around like this every day.
I’m scared, but I’m all in. I’m ready to start chipping away at a full recovery.
I love to feel the burn as much as the next person, but sore muscles can quickly go from a nice pat on the back for a job well done to crippling. Instead of popping a pill, naturally ease sore muscles with these tips.
How to Naturally Ease Sore Muscles
1. Hydrate! Not just when you are done with your workout, but all day every day. How much water do you really need? You can try this calculator for figuring out how much you should drink during your workout.
2. Mobility and foam rolling. I know, the last thing you want to do at the end of a hard workout is roll around on the floor like a spastic seal, but it’s important to get the blood moving into all of the tissue you just used. Foam rolling (and other forms of self-massage) help break up tissue adhesions and speed recovery. Try for 10 minutes a day (wether you worked out or not!) of foam rolling and targeted muscle release. For tips, check out how to properly roll out your legs and your back/chest.
3. Contrast bath. Shock your system and scare the soreness right out of your muscles with a contrast bath. Not really, but a contrast bath will increase circulation and nourish your tired and torn up muscles. You can do full body plunges or stand in the shower, but I like to use two buckets and just do my knees down. Try for at least four cycles of 3 minutes in hot water and 1 minute in cold water. Always start and end on hot.
4. Sleep. My personal favorite. When you sleep your body repairs the tissue you have torn and broken down by exercising. The more sleep you get, the better you recover. Many professional athletes sleep up to 12 hours a day.
5. Arnica gel. This is your best friend for really sore muscles. Arnica helps reduce inflammation and pain. Personally, I like this gel.
6. Magnesium. I used to get horrible muscle spasms. My legs would wake me up in the night with twitches that seemed to last forever. I would jerk myself awake with a massive twitch that would send my arm or leg flying. I started drinking magnesium a couple of years ago to sleep better.
Turns out I was also giving myself a massive recovery boost. Calcium aids in muscle contraction while magnesium helps the muscle relax. An imbalance between calcium and magnesium leaves you with stiff, tight muscles.
I drink Natural Calm every night before bed, but you can also rub it straight on your sore muscles. I like the powder better than a pill because I can control the dose and make sure I get enough on the days I have a hard workout.
7. Gentle movement. An easy walk or short yoga session can go a long way toward loosening up muscles and relieving soreness. This isn’t a sprint or an hour long swim. Get your blood flowing with a bit of slow, gentle movement.
8. Legs up the wall. I love coming home from a hard run or a heavy squat session and putting my legs up the wall. Ahhh, feels so good! I like to imagine the soreness draining out of my legs while I lie back and relax. But in reality, it’s a nice boost for your circulation.
9. Compression. Jury is still out on compression for improved performance, but it does help you recover. Try socks or other compression clothing to get the blood flowing. I swear by the Voodoo band for serious compression and relief – it also really helps remove tissue adhesions and get everything gliding properly again.
10. Naturally anti-inflammatory foods. Ginger, turmeric, and fish all of have anti-inflammatory properties. Whole foods also help muscles get the amino acids, minerals, and vitamins that they need to repair and get stronger.
11. Cupping. A little intense for your run of the mill muscle soreness, but totally worth keeping in your back pocket for the days where breathing feels strenuous. You can read all about my experience with cupping here. (Spoiler, I like it.)
When my dad pointed out months ago that it looked like my injury was going to take at least six months to heal, I crumbled a bit on the inside. How could an injury that took less than a second to happen stretch on for so long? Why couldn’t I get this to heal?
When I first hurt my ankle it was hard to tell just how much damage was done. I was so swollen that my range of motion was extremely limited and doctors couldn’t do most of the tests to figure out the extent of my sprain. I was hurried in and out of the sports doctor’s office with the golden ticket to physical therapy.
Slowly fixed with confusion, just like my ankle.
It wasn’t until I started physical therapy and my progress was like trying to chisel a new, functioning ankle out of a block of granite that we realized something wasn’t right. The more my physical therapist dug into what was going on the more problems he found.
By the time it seemed like maybe an MRI would be on the table, I opted not to. Nothing was completely torn, and it wasn’t like an MRI could heal me. Instead, I swallowed the fact that this was a severe injury that I wouldn’t instantly bounce back from and I let go of ALL healing deadlines.
This is one you take as you go.
Half a year. All of 2016. I haven’t run since the third week of October. And I haven’t sobbed uncontrollably since my friends carried me off the basketball court listening to me babble about how I only have 14 weeks until my race. What am I going to do? What am I going to do?
Take it one day at a time. That’s what I did. There were nights I couldn’t sleep because of the pain. I got so used to saying “I can’t do that” to nearly everything because I couldn’t go up that many stairs or stand that long or walk that far or sit without my foot up.
I got used to knee-replacement patients lapping me in the physical therapy room. I’ve been around longer than some of the receptionists. My physical therapist hears about more of my life than most of my friends.
So Much Progress
But so much has changed, especially in the last month.
This past month has been HUGE for me (get huge, bro!). I’m lifting three days a week (ahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!). I am only 20 pounds off my 1 rep max back squat and my 1RM deadlift. I finally (FINALLY) feel strong and capable.
My balance is killin’ it. When I was first able to test my balance without excruciating pain, it was abysmal. My broken body just didn’t know how to handle itself anymore, especially since so many muscles had atrophied or hid out of fear of pain and punishment. Now I’m doing crazy things on uneven surfaces. Yoga is starting to feel like it used to. I can’t wait to see how far I can take this.
My ankle is starting to feel steady, strong even. I have been doing exercises for six months now and the progress is enormous. I’ve accepted that I will most likely be doing most of these exercises for the rest of my life. And that’s okay, especially if I don’t have pain and they keep me on my feet.
You should have seen my face the first time I could do a full ankle circle a couple weeks ago. I looked like a baby who walked for the first time. Surprised, excited, and ready to eat shit at any moment. Priceless.
I’m still not at my normal range of motion, but I finally think that I’m going to get there. For months I thought “maybe this is it, maybe this is my life now.” But I’m holding out hope on those last few degrees and the pain that comes with them.
You heard me. For the past month or so I’ve been slowly adding short “running” bursts into my walks. I started with 10 steps. 20. 30. 50. 100. 200. Now I’m able to do the first day of the Couch to 5k program which is a total of 1 minute of running 10 times with 1.5 minutes of walking between.
I’ll probably stay here for a few weeks as my body gets used to this and my ankle and feet hopefully stop being upset by it. But I’m so stoked in the meantime.
I went for my first hike a couple weeks ago and even though I spent the whole time staring at my feet to make sure I didn’t step on anything, it was amazing! I can finally do inclines and declines without pain (for the most part) and relatively unstable ground went okay!
This girl used to have air. Jumping has always been one of my favorite things. I know that sounds weird, but sign me up for max height box jumps and vertical jump tests – I love them! I’m finally taking my first tentative jumps into the world and it feels good. Top shelf foods, I’m coming for you.
I’ve long ago come to terms with my injury. I have no deadline in my mind. No timeline. No expectations. While six more months of this seems unlikely, I’m prepared for anything. I feel fantastic about my progress, and I’m really excited about what I can do right now. Right now is good. Tomorrow is even better.
I believe in treading lightly on the Earth and my feet. I hope to inspire and support you on your journey to live a natural, sustainable life.
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